SImple fibula brooch pins

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learn the basic steps for creating your own fibula, once mastered there are so many different ideas you can try out you’ll be creating new ones for days!

The Fibula (latin - 'to fasten') dates back to Roman times, when they would use them to pin their togas and cloaks, and even decorate them according to status and rank. Fibulae can be found in various forms and variations throughout history. This simple idea lends itself to so many designs and adaptations, the only limitation being your imagination and materials to hand. As a minimum diameter, you need 1mm wire, as it needs to be strong enough to hold its shape - maximum 1.5 diameter as you still need to be able to work with it. The wire should be fairly hard, but don't worry if it's not, you can work harden it by twisting it with a pair of pliers held at each end. Forging to create the point will also help to harden the wire. You can use any type of wire; copper, brass, silver etc. but not plated wire as you will be filing down one end.

Kathryn has been designing and making jewellery from a young age, and enjoys a variety of mediums and techniques. Having studied locally, she has been a silver jeweller and silversmith for over 5 years. She now makes jewellery from her home studio, and also teaches occasionally.



Kathryn Newman


Hammer a point

1 Hammer

Cut a length of about 20cm of wire. Take one end and hammer it on your anvil with the flat end of a hammer whilst rotating it with the other hand. The hammering should go up about 3cm of the wire to keep the tapering smooth. Continue hammering until the wire is nicely tapered off from the starting point.


File the point

2 File

Taking a hand file, follow this shaping through to the end, rotating against a suitable nick in your bench pin. When you have created a point (sharp enough to go through fabric but not sharp enough to puncture skin) tidy with emery paper.


Make a spring

3 Spring

Make the brooch spring at about 6cm along from the point. With round nosed pliers make a loop in the wire at the widest part of the pliers. When the wire crosses itself, turn it over and make another at the widest part of the pliers
again; ensure that both loops are the same size and lay properly against each other.



4 Decoration

This is the point at which you add decoration. Add beads, twist the wire in places to provide a loop for hanging beads or charms, make a succession of twists with small spacer beads in between or forge the wire and leave out the beads entirely. Once you are happy with the look, you need to create the hook into which the pin will lock. There are two ways to do this.


Loop end

5 Hook

Make a right-angle bend near the end of the wire up towards the adjacent point; it should lie just before the end of that point so that it will be caught in the loop. Bend it back on itself and make a loop after about 1cm so that the point now rests in it. Finish by either cutting off the excess wire and either tidying the end or making a very small loop.


Shepherd's crook

6 Both Hooks

Another method of finishing is to make a loop and wire-wrap at about 1cm from the end. Keeping the loop end open, press the wire further down together. Bend it into a shepherd's crook shape. The point should sit easily and securely in the loop.

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